Defining a relationship

Stuff reports:

A Christchurch pair who described themselves as “” were forced to describe their sex lives in court over charges they falsely claimed $173,000 in welfare payments.

A jury found the pair not guilty of all charges after treatment from Housing New Zealand (HNZ) that a welfare advocate described as “cavalier and cruel”.

Margaret Campbell and Bill Seconi, who were evicted from their homes, said the charges and trial caused “unbearable stress” and were “demeaning”.

The pair lived near each other in HNZ homes from about 2003 to late 2009.

They described their relationship as a friendship with occasional sex.

“We were friends with benefits,” Campbell said.

But the Ministry of Social Development and HNZ claimed the pair were concealing a “marriage-type relationship” and falsely claiming benefits. The pair were then evicted from their HNZ homes and had to defend the charges in court.

Things are more complicated than they used to be. It is relevant to welfare entitlements whether or not someone is married or has a partner who supports them.

Once upon a time a sexual relationship would be pretty conclusive proof of a “marriage-type” relationship, but today it may just be friends with benefits. Trying to define when FBs becomes a relationship can be difficult.

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